Before his fellow Elm Street alumni joined him on stage at the HorrorHound convention, Freddy Krueger himself (Robert Englund) shared his favorite memory of the man who created him.
The story perfectly summarized director Wes Craven's innocence — the heart he brought to horror. As Englund said, the genre kept the 14-year-old fanboy in Craven alive.
Here is a video of his touching tribute. (Please forgive my shaky camerawork — I was excited.)
The crowded convention center turned into an intimate living room as Englund and his castmates remembered the horrormeister behind their breakthrough film. Of course, Craven hated the term "horrormeister" though.
"He said his biggest fear was that people would remember him as a schlock-maker," his wife, Mimi, said. But that was before A Nightmare on Elm Street, before he dug deep beneath the blood-splattered surface of the horror genre.
Craven made the rare horror films that are inspiring. As Elm Street's heroine Heather Langenkamp said, "When you watch them, you don't want to look away — you want to face your fear." That's exactly what the protagonists of his films do.
"His movies are the few horror films that aren't about girls running and screaming. They actually confront the monsters chasing them," Langenkamp added.
Craven's films provide catharsis, which everyone in the room seemed to appreciate as we remembered the late, great horror icon.
The HorrorHound Weekend convention was a time to grieve, celebrate and open up about the power of the genre Craven helped create. As he once said, "Horror films don't create fear; they release it."